'No club in the world has a better tradition'
Manchester United first-team coach Kieran McKenna has underlined the importance of keeping the club’s tradition in promoting homegrown talent into the squad.
Youngsters James Garner, Angel Gomes, Tahith Chong and Mason Greenwood were part of the training camp in Dubai and will be hoping to catch the eye of caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, while learning from the Norwegian and his staff.
Chong became the Reds’ latest debutant when coming off the bench against Reading in the Emirates FA Cup, while Garner was also among the substitutes for the tie. Gomes has already enjoyed some game time under Solskjaer, while Greenwood bagged a hat-trick in the FA Youth Cup victory over Chelsea last month after being an unused sub in the Champions League tie at Valencia.
Having coached the Under-18s, McKenna is well placed to discuss the youth talent available at the club and he believes the production line is continuing in United’s best traditions.
”It’s definitely a massive part of the club,” he told MUTV.
“No club in the world has got a better tradition of bringing youth-team players through to the first team. We’re all passionate for that to continue and Neil [Ryan] has come in and worked alongside the staff who were there last year and done a fantastic job so far.
“It’s a really good group, we’re all positive about, and want to keep pushing and developing the communication between the first team and Neil, Ricky [Sbragia], Nicky [Butt] and the Academy staff.
“It’s been really good, as has been seen with the likes of Mason, Jimmy, Tahith and Angel getting opportunities in squads this year, alongside the young professionals we have already got in there. It’s nice to see the pipeline continuing and it’s something we all wish for in the future.”
Young players can bring a vigour and fearless energy to any team, something that has been seen with the likes of Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford previously. The United style of play is something that McKenna has long respected.
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“The way we've been playing is massively important for everyone - the staff, players and fans - we're all aware of the history of this club, its traditions and the style of football we want to adhere to,” acknowledged McKenna.
“We've managed to give the supporters some of that, so far, in a short space of time, and I think the response has been really positive from that. We'll look to continue those traditions but all know it's a results industry and we have to be clever and good enough to adapt to different games to get a result on a one-off day.”